Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Murders and robberies -- Bonnie & Clyde? No, Iraq

Yesterday, newly elected MP Bashar Hamid Agaidi of the Iraqiya slate was assassinated in Mosul. In the lead in to reporting by Peter Kenyon (NPR's Morning Edition) notes today, Renee Montagne notes this assassination is just the sort of thing that many had feared Iraq descending to. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports, "Mr. Hamid's cousin, Mahmoud al-Qaidi, said two men approached Mr. Hamid’s office next to his home at 7:45 p.m. and joined a meeting in progress with six others. After a few minutes, they drew pistols and fired, hitting Mr. Hamid with seven bullets, the cousin said. One gunman was reported arrested." Mu Xuenquan (Xinhua) adds, "Two killers were captured in the northern city of Mosul, the third killer escaped, but was wounded by police, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." Alsumaria TV notes that Bashar Hamid al-Ukaidi's driver was injured in the shooting and reminds, "Al Ukaidi is the second candidate of Al Iraqiya List to be assassinated in Nineveh. The first candidate was Soha Abdullah Jarallah Al Shammaa who was assassinated by unknown gunmen early February." Michael Jansen (Irish Times) provides this context:

The killing coincided with a call by the ministries of interior and defence to the electoral commission to disqualify two candidates who won seats in the March 7th parliamentary election. The first, from the Iraqiya list faces criminal charges, and the second, from the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), allegedly broke the law by standing for parliament while serving in the armed forces.
While the exclusion of these winners does not alter the result, the move shows that prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who continues to hold the levers of power, is not ready to admit defeat. His State of Law bloc, with 89 seats, was edged out of first place by Iraqiya, headed by Iyad Allawi, with 91.
According to the 2005 constitution, Mr Allawi’s slender lead should have given him first crack at forming a government, but Mr Maliki mounted a blocking campaign which failed, leaving Iraqiya the largest grouping in the assembly. However, Mr Allawi has been unable to secure partners for a coalition commanding 163 seats.

Meanwhile today Baghdad has seen multiple deaths as a result of what Al Jazeera's terming "deadly gold robbery" as criminals "hit nearly a dozen stores . . . killing the store owners and planting bombs". Citing Ministry of Interior sources, BBC News states there were ten robbers and "They threw grenades and then made off with gold and money after shooting some of the shop-keepers, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad."

Ernesto Londono and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) report that US diplomatic staff in Iraq no longer feel "overshadowed by their military counterparts"; however, as you read in, you grasp there's been no diplomatic surge, they're just referring to a tiny decrease in the number of US service members and, on the issue of Iraq descending into violence (as opposed to what today?), "U.S. diplomats say the oft-heard concerns of their military counterparts are unfounded. They argue that they are better suited to build on the security gains that the military helped achieve." The US military can't do anything. The Iraq War was illegal but the first step of the illegal war was a military mission: take out a leader. That was done. (Illegally, but it was done.) Everything since has not been a military operation. And the alternative is to have the US military continue to play mall cops for the next forty or fifty decades or to withdraw them. They should have never been sent to Iraq. There is nothing the US military can do. There's little the diplomatic team can do now either and that's thanks to Chris Hill who should never have been confirmed. You have to wonder how furious Ryan Crocker is when he looks at what he handed to Hill and what Hill didn't do with it? Chris Hill was never qualified for the post and the idea that the ass will remain in Baghdad -- continuing to create chaos with his personal drama -- until July shows that the diplomatic mission is still not a serious one.

US House Rep Patrick Murphy is supposed to introduce legislation in the House today regarding Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Ideally, we won't be commenting. Ideally, the press will do it's job. Early indications suggest otherwise, however. We did not launch attacks on ObamaCare when we could have easily done so. We noted we were opposed to it and left it at that while the battle raged. We are opposed to Don't Ask, Don't Tell and we are also opposed to anything that gets credit for repealing it but doesn't actually promise it's repeal. Meaning the press better examine the legislation they're applauding and be damn sure of what it says. Again, early indications on that happening are not reassuring. To put it at its most basic, if you're promising to continue a study and the study might find that a repeal is not plausible, what does the legislation say happens then? None of these remarks are intended as a slam at Patrick Murphy. It is a slam at sleight of hand and a desire to put one over on people.

We'll close with this from the World Can't Wait's "Tuesday, May 25: Protest Obama in San Francisco:"

Assassination, "Preventive Detention", Endless War . . .
and must be resisted by anyone who claims a shred of conscience
Crimes under Bush are crimes under Obama. Acts which may have been construed as anomalies under the Bush regime have now been consecrated into "standard operating procedure" by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war.


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